We have cleaners come to clean our home every 2 weeks. They are amazing people and god bless them for pouring their heart out in cleaning our super messy home every two weeks. For full five minutes, if we are lucky, our home looks like perfection. But 15 minutes later, it starts looking almost the same as it did before it was cleaned. We have legos and puzzles and balls and granola pieces and books scattered all over the floor. Honestly, with two toddlers in our home, I expect nothing different. It is all per the usual. I have no problems with that. I almost revel in the fact that kids are being kids. While I don't encourage mess creation, I don't hyper-sweat when I see mess being created minutes, sometimes seconds, after our house is cleaned to perfection.
It is not as if I have a problem with perfection. I just have a problem with the side effects of perfection. I feel like perfection is very heavy. It weighs me down. I am good when things are good. The level of good that makes me happy but doesn't quite weight me down. I don't know if it makes any sense, but there is beauty and innocence in good that somehow goes missing in perfection.
I plan things in my head in great detail. I plan exactly how things must go down. I plan when a certain event will most likely occur and how best to prepare myself for it. I plan a lot. But the birth of my two kids has taught me to wear that planner hat with a little bit of a twist. The twist that the intended outcome may or may not happen, sometimes with equal probability. The birth of my kids has taught me to be, or at least pretend to be, calm and poised if the planned outcome is not achieved. More often than not, it is in fact not achieved. And I have learned to love it, more often than not.
I think Samaira’s birth definitely morphed us into parents we weren't going to be otherwise. It is safe to assume that if it weren't for Samaira, we would have been extremely sensitive about milestones, competitive stuff (whatever that means for kids), private schools to provide the best education, and so on. Not to say that we don't care about these things anymore. We do, but in a slightly different way. We have noticed us really celebrating our kids’ milestones, and not necessarily anticipating them because they are a certain age. We love to see Sammy being able to arrange things in order and Rehan being able to say multiple words. Milestones matter, just in a different way. It is also not to say that we don't believe in competitive stuff. We will do what is best for our kids, without excessively dwelling on the external factors that are known to influence kids one way or the other.
The other thing we have learnt as parents is to never say “we will do things a certain a way…for sure.” That concept does not exist. We may claim one thing, and only time will tell what becomes of it. So while we believe in public schools for now, who knows how things will ultimately work out for our kids. The point is, we aim for doing the best possible thing for our kids at a given point in time, without targeting perfection. The best need not be perfect, if it makes any sense
I have also realized that my parenting style is far more relaxed, mostly because my sister totally modeled it for me without even realizing it. She has a very relaxed parenting style, and I love it. It makes sense to me. She loves her kids. She is obsessed with her kids. She cares for her kids. But she hasn't created a hyper-world around her kids. She lets them be. She gives them the space to grow on their own without weighing into every single aspect of what they should believe in, or what they should become, or what they should say\eat\wear\etc., or how they should grow. Its almost like she takes care of her kids without clouding them with her care. The result is not perfection as people will define perfection, but it is pure awesomeness.
Awesome > Perfect. Any day.
This may seem abstract in words, but it is a lot more crisp when you see someone parent this way. I admire my sister’s ability to let go while still being crazy about her kids. So I try to mimic that in my life. I think I am only partially successful because letting go is not my forte. I am far less relaxed than my sister, but she has influenced me greatly.
I do have my fair share of things that keep me up at night. The latest being Samaira’s speech. She has started stuttering a lot over the last few weeks. A little bit of reading suggests it happens to a certain percent of kids and goes away with time. But my hyper active mind makes up all sorts of stories that could be causing it or could result from it. Another one is finding out Rehan has a big bump in his head and we had no idea when or how or where he got it. I touch the bump and assume the worse. So without even going into the world of perfection, I see myself worry about my kids’ health and well-being.
My rant on perfection versus non-perfection is never ending. The point is, I feel like I restrict my Pandora’s box of parenting by letting go of perfection. Works for me as long as I can work it in.
|Kids never looking into the camera...that's good.|
Sammy and I went to see the Nutcracker ballet. While she followed none of it, she demonstrated the patience to sit through it. Occasionally screaming “Wooow, snow!” I realize this isn't a guarantee of a repeatable behavior, but it made me happy nonetheless.